UMC’s Bill Mefford to Join Iva Carruthers at EAD 2015 Opening Plenary
NOVEMBER 25, 2014 – WASHINGTON, DC – Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice (EAD) is pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. Bill Mefford will join Dr. Iva Carruthers as a presenter during EAD’s opening policy plenary at its 13th annual National Gathering, April 17-20, 2015. The theme for the upcoming gathering is “Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration and Systems of Exploitation.”
Rev. Dr. Bill Mefford serves on the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church as the Director of Civil and Human Rights. He helps to build movements among the church to defend the rights of immigrants as well as to end mass incarceration. He also directs the work of the board on issues that include ending gun violence, religious freedom, and abolition of the death penalty.
“Dr. Carruthers will open EAD 2015 with a vision and a call for national policies to end mass incarceration and systems of exploitation both in the U.S. and around the world. Dr. Mefford’s charge will be to introduce and to unpack the legislative “Ask” that EAD participants will take to Capitol Hill on lobby day, when nearly 500 visits with members of Congress will occur,” said Douglas Grace, director of EAD. “Bill is a well know policy expert among Washington Interreligious advocacy circles, including the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition and other human rights advocacy working groups.”
EAD’s 2015 theme description reads in part, “The U.S. makes up only five percent of the world’s population yet holds nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Still, ‘imprisonment’ is a worldwide problem and takes various forms, as everywhere people around the world remain trapped in detention centers, prisons, factories and drug wars that bind and dehumanize individuals for political or economic profit.”
“Through prayer, worship, advocacy training, networking and mobilization with other Christians, EAD participants will face the reality of mass incarceration and corporate exploitation, and call for national policies that bring liberation both to the prisoner and to a world in need of restoration – all culminating with EAD’s Congressional Lobby Day on Capitol Hill,” continued Grace.
In addition to his Capitol Hill experience, Dr. Mefford has served the United Methodist Church in various positions, including youth pastor, pastor, Wesley Foundation Director, and an urban missionary in several cities including Chicago, Cleveland and Waco, Texas. He graduated from McMurry University in Abilene, Texas in 1990. He also graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1998 and a Doctor of Missiology, also from Asbury, in 2008. The title of Dr. Mefford’s dissertation is To Set Free the Affluent: Liberating the North American Church in Captivity through Solidarity with Refugees. He is also the co-author of The Christian Companion to Not on Our Watch. (2008)
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